NCA Addresses SIM Card Hassle

Joe Anokye

The National Communications Authority (NCA) has announced measures to address the congestion and accompanying inconveniences being suffered by the public in the ongoing SIM re-registration exercise.

The measures followed the authority’s engagement with Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and the SIM registration application developer.

The NCA has ordered the immediate “deployment of additional registration points commensurate with the subscriber numbers of each MNO to ease the congestion.”

Towards this end, outlets such as distributor shops, retail centres and other agent touch points across the country are being used for the SIM registration exercise. Customers are urged to patronise these other outlets as they become available to complete the second stage of the registration process, the NCA stated in a release on the subject.

Also being deployed are ad hoc registration points at various public places such as churches, mosques among others to ease congestion at the existing customer care centres.

Appropriate announcements will be made, according to the NCA, about the ad hoc centres so customers can avail themselves of the opportunity.

Additional temporary locations at various Government or State Owned Enterprise facilities including NCA Regional Offices, Community ICT Centres established by the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC), and post offices will be used for the re-registration exercise.

Also to be undertaken to ease the congestion is the development and implementation of a daily quota and ticketing system for SIM registration bio capture at the customer care centres. MNOs under the measures, the NCA announced “will develop systems to schedule customers who have completed the first phase, to visit particular centres by a given date or window for the second phase of the registration.”

Customers have been urged to be patient as the measures are unfolded in the coming days.

The NCA has further asked customers to complete stage one of the registration process, i.e. linking the Ghana card with the SIM card by dialing *404# before visiting the MNO customer care centre or agent. This, according to the NCA, “will further reduce the time spent at the customer care centres of the MNOs.”

Earlier, the NCA justified the need for citizens to physically present themselves at the various outlets of their mobile network operators to complete the re-registration of their SIM cards.

The Director of Consumer and Corporate Affairs at the National Communications Authority, Nana Defie Badu, said this while reacting to complaints about long queues at re-registration centres and suggestions for the registration to be done digitally.

“[The previous registration] gave room for fictitious registrations and it also gave room for pre-registered SIM cards. This current registration is going a step further to make sure that the person who has linked their Ghana card to their SIM card is that same person who owns the Ghana card to prevent SIM fraud,” she disclosed.

In an interview on Accra-based Class FM, Nana Defie Badu blamed registrants for the long queues and the slow pace of the registration process.

According to her, a number of the registrants failed to complete the first stage of the registration process, hence spend a longer time with customer care representatives at the various telco centres to complete that stage before proceeding to complete the second stage.

She also said many registrants refuse to leave the premises of the mobile network operators even if they are advised to come the following day due to the limited number of persons that can be registered in a day.

“What is happening is that, even after they give tickets to these [limited] 100 customers, the costumers who are not included in the quota for the data collection refuse to go away. Most costumers fail to do the first phase of the exercise before they visit the mobile network operator or the agents. Going there without the first stage increases the time frame for engagement with the customer care representatives,” she explained.

By A.R. Gomda